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Navy and Marine Corps Medical News
October 6, 2000
Navy and Marine Corps Medical News (MEDNEWS) is a weekly
compendium of news and information contributed by commands
throughout the Navy medical department . Information contained in
MEDNEWS stories is not necessarily endorsed by Navy Bureau of
Medicine and Surgery (BUMED) , nor should it be considered
official Navy policy.
BUMED distributes MEDNEWS to Sailors and Marines, their
families, civilian employees and retired Navy and Marine Corps
families. Further distribution is highly encouraged.
Stories in MEDNEWS use these abbreviations after a Navy
medical professional 's name to show affiliation: MC - Medical
Corps (physician) ; DC - Dental Corps; NC - Nurse Corps; MSC -
Medical Service Corps (clinicians, researchers and
administrative managers) . Hospital Corpsmen (HM) and Dental
Technician (DT) designators are placed in front of their names.
Contents for this week's MEDNEWS:
— DoD announces plan to manage flu vaccine delay
— NMCP offers new treatment for hearing loss
— On board therapist keeps Sailors on the job
— Medical organization selects Navy Captain as president-elect
— Anthrax question and answer
— TRICARE question and answer
— Healthwatch: Breast cancer detection is in your hands
Headline: DoD announces plan to manage flu vaccine delay
From Bureau of Medicine and Surgery
Washington — In response to a national delay in receiving
influenza vaccine for the 2000—2001 influenza season, the
Department of Defense (DoD) announced a plan for prioritizing
immunizations to maintain optimal military readiness and protect
their most vulnerable populations .
According to the Center for Disease Control and
Prevention, shipment of the vaccine has been delayed because
manufacturers had difficulty growing a new flu strain.
Additionally, two of the four pharmaceutical companies that
provide the vaccine have had production problems. One such
company supplies nearly 2.5 million doses to the armed forces.
The military generally uses 2.8 million doses to cover all
active duty and eligible beneficiaries .
"Influenza epidemics in the United States typically occur
in the winter and early spring. We expect that even with the
delay, we will have enough time to adequately protect all of the
beneficiaries for whom we are responsible, " said Col . Dana
Bradshaw, Chair of the Joint Preventive Medicine Policy Group.
There are currently 230, 000 doses available at the Defense
Supply Center Philadelphia. Available supplies will be given
first to operational forces, health— care workers with direct
patient contact and both active duty and non-active duty Defense
Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS) enrollees who
have high— risk medical conditions .
Military trainees along with personnel in close contact
with high-risk patients will be next in line to receive the
vaccine, followed by all other military members in priority for
deployment, other active duty members and mission critical
civilians in overseas facilities.
DoD influenza vaccination campaigns have been delayed
until early to mid November, pending receipt of adequate
supplies of vaccine.
"The greatest number of hospitalizations and deaths
[caused by influenza] are in elderly people or children and
adults with high risk medical conditions , " Bradshaw said. "We
encourage others to be patient and wait to get vaccinated until
those at highest risk can be protected. "
The DoD is working with the CDC and the Advisory Committee
on Immunization Practices, a panel that advises the CDC, in
responding to this vaccine delay.
For more information on the delay of the influenza
vaccine, visit the Navy Medicine website at
navymedicine.med.navy.mil, the TRICARE website at
www.tricare.osd.mil/immunization/whatsnew.html and the CDC
website at www.cdc.gov.
Headline: NMCP offers new treatment for hearing loss
By Naval Medical Center Portsmouth
PORTSMOUTH, Va . - Naval Medical Center Portsmouth became
the first military facility to offer a brand new surgical
alternative for patients suffering from hearing loss. It is an
implant designed to work with the natural structures of the
middle ear to improve hearing and communication abilities for
people with hearing impairment .
Shortly after the Food and Drug Administration approved
the device, a Navy retiree suffering from sensorineural hearing
loss underwent the three-hour outpatient surgical implant
procedure at the medical center.
According to Capt . Lorenz F. Lassen, director of Surgical
Services for NMCP and the operation's surgeon, making this
innovative technology available enhances the quality of life for
the military population suffering from hearing loss.
"Hearing aids are a covered benefit for military
personnel. We incorporated this treatment alternative because it
enhances conanunication by reducing feedback and providing better
gain in high frequencies . " Lassen explained that unlike
conventional hearing aids, the new implant does not cover the
ear canal, which significantly decreases the risk of moisture
buildup and ear infections.
Currently, NMCP provides about 300 sets of hearing aids
per year to active duty patients . Lassen stated that only
current hearing aid users would be considered for receiving an
implant . "I am unsure about how many of these hearing aid users
would choose to have a surgical implant, but the number is
probably between 20 to 30 percent, which means 60 to 90 patients
per year. "
Attacking hearing loss in the Navy is a combined effort.
It includes an aggressive hearing conservation program, regular
testing and a team of health care professionals who make the
latest technological advances available to meet the needs of
Headline: On-board therapist keeps Sailors on the job
By J03 Eric Durie, USS Harry S. Truman
NORFOLK, Va. - The most qualified physical therapist in
the Navy can't be found at any hospital or clinic. In fact, she
chooses to avoid them.
Cmdr. Erin Patterson, USS Harry S. Truman's (CVN 75)
physical therapist, is board-certified in three clinical
specialties. The Bermuda native is the only therapist of the 80
in the Navy with those credentials, and is on board Truman for
her second consecutive tour aboard a deploying carrier.
Patterson is certified by the American Board of Physical
Therapy Specialties (ABPTS) in orthopedic and sports physical
therapy . She is one of only 50 physical therapists in the
country certified by the ABPTS in two specialties . There are
75,000 practicing physical therapists in the United States.
Being able to perform orthopedic physical therapy is
important on a carrier, considering 40 percent of the injuries
she treats are orthopedic in nature.
"The Navy offers me an opportunity to practice direct
access, " Patterson said. "In a civilian setting you can't just
grab patients off the street, but here if I see someone limping
I can ask them why they're limping and immediately set up an
appointment with them. It 's front line intervention . "
Two-and-a-half years ago, Patterson became the first
physical therapist assigned to a carrier when she was given
orders to USS Enterprise (CVN 65) as part of an experiment to
determine the effectiveness of shipboard physical therapy.
During her time on Enterprise, Patterson proved the value
of having a physical therapist on board. According to Patterson,
during her five-weeks at sea the ship had no non-surgical
"We treat over 400 Sailors each month, " said Patterson. "I
consider us industrial athletes. Most of the injuries we get are
sports-related types, and just like athletes, we can 't afford to
just go to bed and rest up. We've got a job to do. "
A Sailor who had recently dislocated his knee on board was
back on his feet in two hours following treatment by Patterson.
"We 're not just at sea because we drew the short straw, "
she said. "We have a tremendous amount of experience out here.
We definitely don't just hand out aspirin."
If she has her way, Patterson will practice physical
therapy in the Navy for a long time.
"I'll go over 20 years in service during our upcoming
deployment, " she said. "I want to stay as long as they let me. "
Headline: Medical organization selects Navy Captain as
From American Academy of Family Physicians
DALLAS, Tx. — The American Academy of Family Physicians
Congress of Delegates has elected Capt. Warren A. Jones, MC, as
president-elect of its organization.
Jones will become the organization 's president in October
2001. He previously served three years on the AAFP's board of
directors, a position he has held since 1997 . As president-
elect, Jones will represent the Academy at press conferences,
other medical organization meetings and congressional hearings
on a variety of medical issues. He will also help develop
As a Captain in the Navy, Jones has traveled extensively
and is now stationed in the Washington, D.C. area.
He has extensive medical teaching experience, which
includes serving as special assistant to the U.S. Surgeon
General for Physical Qualifications and Review and as director
of undergraduate medical education. He also served as Director
of Residency Training in the Department of Family Practice at
Naval Hospital Pensacola and as chair of the Department of
Family Practice at Naval Hospital Charleston.
Before moving to Washington, Jones served as Director of
Medical and Clinical Services for the TRICARE Pacific Region. He
was responsible for the coordination of access to health care
for the Department of Defense personnel in Alaska, Hawaii, the
Pacific Rim, and from Asia to the western coast of Madagascar .
Headline: Anthrax question and answer
Question: Formaldehyde is not approved for human
consumption. Why is it used in the anthrax and other vaccines?
Answer: Material Safety Data Sheets correctly warn people
not to swallow formaldehyde. Small amounts of formaldehyde are
approved by the FDA for use in manufacturing several vaccines,
including vaccines against anthrax, diphtheria, hepatitis A,
influenza, Japanese encephalitis, and tetanus.
A small amount of formaldehyde, less than 2 parts per 10, 000
(0.02%), is permitted by FDA to remain in the anthrax vaccine.
Formaldehyde has been used in vaccine manufacturing since the
1960s, if not earlier . Literally billions of people around the
world have been given tetanus toxoid processed with formaldehyde
(as anthrax vaccine is), which is generally recognized as safe.
FDA closely monitors all the ingredients and processing steps of
all vaccines and other medications before they can be
distributed for widespread use.
Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) are a method to explain
chemical hazards, according to OSHA standards (see www. osha—
slc.gov/SLTC/smallbusiness/secl6.html). For any given chemical,
health hazards vary by amount of chemical (concentration) ,
duration of exposure (time), and route of exposure (skin,
stomach, lungs, etc.).
FDA's decision to permit formaldehyde to be present as residues
in vaccines is based, in part, on the low concentrations and
infrequent exposures involved. Minute doses of formaldehyde in
vaccines are generally recognized as safe.
Headline: TRICARE question and answer
Question: If I choose to disenroll after I have enrolled
in TRICARE Prime, what penalty is incurred? Can I get back into
TRICARE Prime if I don't like the other options?
Answer: If the enrollment fee was paid in one payment, you
will not receive a refund. Enrollment is for 12 months, unless
you move from the area or lose eligibility; if you disenroll
early you are eligible to re-enroll in 12 months.
Headline: Healthwatch: Breast cancer detection is in your hands
By Bill Doughty, US Naval Hospital Yokosuka
YOKOSUKA, Japan - Women don't have to be in the dark about
breast cancer. Help is at their fingertips.
Health care professionals at Yokosuka recently attended a
course to improve their awareness of new techniques in
detection, prevention, and treatment . The course reinforced the
importance of early detection through breast self-exams .
Capt. Melissa Kaime, director of the Breast Health Center
at Navy Medical Center San Diego and senior instructor of the
course, said, "Self breast examinations are very important in
several regards. It 's important for a woman to learn how to do a
very careful monthly self breast examination. That woman will
then know her breast better than anybody else and know when
there is a minor little lump that otherwise might not be able to
be felt . "
Self-exams can be taught and reinforced by health care
"Breast self examination is an important thing for all
women to learn from a very young age and to continue that
throughout the life cycle." said Lt. Cmdr. Jennifer Jagoe, Staff
Physician at NMC San Diego. "It 's through a history and close
physical exam that increase risk may be identified. "
Jagoe recommends annual screening by a health care
"The good news is that we are finding more breast cancer,
and the reason we're doing that is because we're doing more
mammograms, " said Kaime. "We're finally getting the word out
that mammograms are very important and should be done every year
for women over the age of 40. And, by that we're able to find
breast cancers at a very early, treatable stage. "
To learn more about healthy lifestyles that can prevent
breast cancer, call Health Promotion at 243— 2615 .
Comments about and ideas for MEDNEWS are welcome . Story
submissions are highly encouraged. Contact MEDNEWS editor, at
email: email@example.com; telephone 202—762—3218, (DSN)
762, or fax 202-762-3224.